14 Feb 2019

Govt dismisses claims China stalling on ministers' visas

From Morning Report, 7:10 am on 14 February 2019

The government is under pressure to reveal whether New Zealand Ministers are being blocked from visiting China as concerns grow about the health of the relationship. Simon Bridges put the question directly to the Prime Minister in Parliament. But while Jacinda Ardern is not denying that Ministers have been blocked from Bejing her Foreign Minister is. As well this week an Air New Zealand flight to China was forced to return home after it was refused permission to land because of an apparent paperwork problem. A long-planned launch of a joint New Zealand-China tourism initiative was postponed at China's request. The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has received a formal invitation to visit China, but has not yet secured a date for her visit. Winston Peters spoke later to RNZ political editor Jane Patterson who asked him more broadly about the state of the relationship.